WKU Tennis split two matches over weekend as Hermanova shines


Arthur H. Trickett-Wile

Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers freshman Rachel Hermanova celebrates a point against Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis Jaguars senior Samantha Hayward on the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, at Michael O. Buchanon Park’s tennis facility. WKU won the match 7-0.

Izzy Lanuza , Sports Reporter

WKU Tennis played two matches this past weekend at the Michael O. Buchanan Park, losing 5-2 to Ball State Saturday and winning 5-2 against North Alabama Sunday. 

Ball State 

For the third time this season, the Lady Toppers lost the doubles point, only winning one of the three matches. The Cardinals won the first three singles matches, giving them a 4-0 win. The rest of the matches were played out with the Lady Toppers winning two of the final three matches for a 5-2 defeat. 

“They were 22-4 in the MAC last year. We were with them punch-for-punch today,” WKU head coach Greg Davis said in a press release. “Beating teams like this, you just have to be put in that situation over and over again. I think this will help us the rest of the year. We will come back tomorrow and play a tough North Alabama team. We have played them every year I have been here. It has been a knock-down, drag-out every time. It is not going to be easy.”

Ball State won at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots for the double matches. The No. 3 pair of freshman Sofia Blanco and sophomore Samantha Martinez held a 5-3 before their match was deemed unfinished. 

Freshman Rachel Hermanova was the standout star, winning in straight sets at the No. 5 spot, with scores of 6-3 and 6-4. Following that, redshirt senior Laura Bernardos also won with straight sets at the No. 2 spot, 6-4 and 6-3. Bernardos now sits at 5-1 on the year in singles matches.

North Alabama 

WKU drafted North Alabama Sunday afternoon 5-2 at the WKU Tennis Complex. The Lady Toppers are now at 8-8 against the Lions after winning the last two meetings. 

“For this being our first match outside and considering that we had only played outside two or three times all year, I thought the effort and everything was pretty good today,” Davis said. “The conditions were not great. Any time you have a 20 mile-per-hour wind, you are not going to play your best. It all comes down to who manages the conditions the best, and I think we did a good job of that.”

WKU Tennis started off the match by winning the doubles point. The No. 3 duo, Blanco and Martinez, finished first, winning 6-3. The Lady Toppers won again with the No. 1 pair of redshirt junior Cora-Lynn von Dungern and redshirt sophomore Paola Cortez, with a score of 6-1. The pair has improved to a team best of 6-1 in doubles play. 

Dungern won the first set by 6-1 before her opponent had to retire due to injury, starting singles play with a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Taylor Shaw followed up with a 6-2, 6-0 win at the No. 5 spot. Redshirt sophomore Alexis Cramer secured the win for the Lady Toppers with scores of 6-1 and 6-2. 

The rest of the matches played out with Hermanova finishing up her singles matches by winning a third-set super tie breaker of her own. She improved to a team best to 8-1 in singles play. The Lions won the last match of the afternoon in a third-set super tie breaker, making the end result a 5-2 WKU victory. 

“We fought hard at every position today,” Davis said. “I thought that made a difference. It was good to see our doubles play really well today. I thought we played some of the best doubles that we have played all year today. We kind of kept that momentum going into singles. Once we got up 3-0, I think that helped us a lot, it took a lot of pressure off. It was a big difference in us being victorious today.”

The Lady Toppers will be back in action next weekend with a doubleheader on Sunday with home matches against Tennessee Chattanooga at 1 p.m. and Tennessee State at 6 p.m.

Sports Reporter Izzy Lanuza can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @izzylanuza